US global hospitality, gambling and entertainment group MGM Resorts has dropped its legal action against the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes’ plan to develop a casino in East Windsor. The project has been laid aside as part of the gaming expansion agreement that was reached between the two aforementioned tribes and Governor Ned Lamont earlier in 2021.
The deal was helpful for lawmakers to come up with a piece of legislation based on the agreement that received the green light by the Legislature and was later signed into law by the Governor.
Last weekend, MGM Resorts Global Development, along with another entity of the group – Blue Tarp Redevelopment – informed the US District Court for the District of Columbia about their decision to drop their lawsuit against the US Department of the Interior “without prejudice” over the Department’s approval of tribal gambling compacts that facilitated the establishment of the casino project in East Windsor.
An intervenor status on the defendants’ side was granted to the state and the two Indian tribes, with them joining the US Interior Department in seeking the dismissal of the legal action.
The US gambling operator had been trying to prevent the tribes from pursuing their casino project development in the north-central part of the state as part of their efforts to protect their already existing casinos from the rivalry of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts. The East Windsor site that is supposed to host the casino project is situated only about 12 miles away from MGM Springfield.
East Windsor Casino Project Shelved under New Piece of Legislation for at Least a Decade
In the lawsuit that was filed back in 2019, MGM Resorts made some claims that the amended gaming compacts between the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes put the company at a competitive disadvantage in a commercial casino operation, and also called them illegal and unprecedented. Earlier, MGM Resorts had proposed an open and competitive process to be adopted by the step for allowing another casino in Connecticut. The company had even made a proposal to build such a casino in Bridgeport.
Under the new piece of legislation that allows the local Indian tribes and the Connecticut Lottery Corp. to offer sports betting services and the tribes to offer online casino services, the Native American nations are prevented from pursuing the establishment of the East Windsor casino project for no less than a decade. The adoption of such provision had been specifically sought by Governor Lamont in an effort to calm the Las Vegas-based operator down.
Although it decided to drop its lawsuit against the two Indian tribes, it still remains unknown whether MGM Resorts will be seeking permission to operate a casino in the state of Connecticut.
Earlier in 2021, MGM Resorts said it was interested in setting foot in the state in partnership with the British gambling group Entain. The request-for-proposals process, which was rolled out by the Connecticut Lottery Corp. as part of its efforts to find a sports betting operator to join forces with, ended on June 11th, with five gambling operators having filed their responses. The Connecticut Lottery Corp. is expected to choose a sports betting operator to partner with by June 28th.